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  • I posted on a thread, but users downvoted and replied saying it wasn’t an answer. What do they mean?
  • What does it mean for an answer to be too forum-like?
  • Someone told me not to comment in an answer. What is that?
  • What should answers be used for?

This Q&A is an agglomeration of guidance often given to new users based on this suggestion. Please also see the tour for an initial introduction and the help center on answering.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I've asked this question as part of the initiative to put something on the help center main page. As such, please read this from the point of view of a new user, and suggest improvements. The link to the help center is intended to be changed to the specific meta Q&A suggested as part of the same initiative. \$\endgroup\$ – Someone_Evil Aug 27 at 14:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ God, when I saw the 30k in the corner I was stumped that you might even manage a *Not-An-Answer"-Answer, then read that this is part of the initiative and chuckled. \$\endgroup\$ – Trish Aug 30 at 13:50
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To understand why we require what we do of answers, there's an important aspect we need to clear first:

RPG.SE is a Q&A site, not a traditional forum

A traditional forum is a place for a conversation. RPG.SE, as a Q&A site, is specialized to creating a repository of questions which have received high quality, expertise based answers.

This influences much of the site's design, including what different parts of the site should be used for. For answers, this means answers should only be used for giving high-quality, expertise-based answers which solve (or attempt to solve) the problem faced in the question.

  • Saying "thanks" or "me too" in an answer doesn't go towards that goal. To show that an answer was helpful, press the upvote button on it. If you are the asker of a question, you can also mark one answer as accepted using the checkmark below the vote buttons. You can change the accepted answer later if better answers come in.
  • While we appreciate new questions, posting one as an answer doesn't give a space for it to properly answered and doesn't let it be cataloged so future readers can readily find it.
  • On RPG.SE, we use comments for requesting clarifications, suggesting improvements, and similar things which are part of the process. Answers are not for these things; they're for answering the question. If an answer contains comment-y sections, those parts may be edited out, and if it only contains comment-y material. it may be deleted altogether.
  • A part of the Q&A model is that answers are sorted by their votes. This means a newer answer may be displayed above an older one if votes change. In addition, answers may be deleted (say by their authors). Therefore, answers should answer the whole question and independently (i.e. without leaning on or replying to other answers). The best such answer should be upvoted to the top.

For more guidance on how to write good answers, see the help center article on it and the following highlights from our FAQ:


† Diamond moderators have the option to convert an answer into a comment, but do so sparingly and generally not by request.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The noted convertion to comment is how 3D printing SE handles a lot of such non-answers. \$\endgroup\$ – Trish Aug 30 at 13:52

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